DGA11.02: Red Hand of Doom Part I finale – The fall of Drellin’s Ferry

The Elsir Vale Heroes for this session

In order of move distance

Seck, 6″
Phoenix, 4″
Cat, 3″
Ulric, 3″

The heroes begin at level 11 plus 2,691xp and add 2,888.

The story so far

Elsir Vale is menaced by the Hobgoblin Warlord! The first town in peril is Drellin’s Ferry, and from it our heroes brave the Witchwood to scout the enemy. Sure enough, there are plenty to be found! Expeditiously retreating, our heroes have scant hours to eat and plan before flames erupt on the north bank – the first few enemy scouts are here!

The initial skirmish

Cat and Ulric drag the coracle up to hard ground near a massive mound marking the old bridge’s terminus. Flames and smoke reveal and conceal: any villagers left alive seem to have fled south in the ferry boat, or hidden themselves among field-crops. The pair make their way north, peering up the road.

A hellhound rushes Ulric! Two accurate violet blasts slam into it from Cat’s hands: then it crashes home with a gout of flame! The paladin takes some severe burns but with Cat – now up on the mound – in support, Ulric is able to pick his strike. Sensing that this flame-licked beast may be a fiend, he delivers a Smite and the hellhound collapses into black dust.

Wiping his brow Ulric gazes about. Are those shadows in the road north survivors, or enemy? – but almost immediately, he has to break off and run clumsily west, past the burning ferry-building, with Cat following as closely as he can.

For Seck and Phoenix have become separated long enough that Phoenix becomes isolated. The two seem unable to coordinate, with Seck attempting to snoop and Phoenix attempting to lurk in wait. Then the two exchange roles: but another hellhound has the scent and Phoenix is burned and bitten!

Fortunately, Ulric and Cat arrive within sight of three goblin riders dashing forward, sending their darts into Phoenix and charging home! Phoenix and Seck are struggling: then Cat unleashes Synaptic Static and Ulric charges home to finish the slaughter!

Disaster

But before the four comrades can do more than rally and chug potions, reinforcements are stamping down the road to link up with another, more circumspect, troop of worg riders. These new troops are heavily armored hobgoblins, and they are led by a flying caster!

The worg troop acts as shock assault, racing to the ferry crossroad and sniffing for prey, as the heavier foot struggle to navigate yards and fences. The mage coordinates. Just as Phoenix is about to fall back to his three comrades, he is caught and slaughtered by the worg riders!

With a cry of rage Cat unleashes a second Synaptic Static, devastating a squad of hobgoblins. But there are more coming, and Seck dives into the Alshon, letting the slow current move him west. Cat and Ulric follow suit, gnashing their teeth and swearing revenge.

Picking up the pieces

After at least an hour spent shivering on the western sandbank, watching flame triumph over the north settlement, the three survivors are reinforced. Vir has escorted Avarthel and others to safety, south. Now he helps them cross to search the embers for enough remains of Phoenix to resurrect.

Dis spots Mocair, lying just near the river. “Careful,” Cat reminds Ulric as he heads down, “we did not deal with those two lurking bugbears…”

Prophetic words! Cat and Ulric are set upon, but this time they are ready. One bugbear falls, the other, bullrushed by Ulric, hurls himself back into the water taking the paladin with him! But before he can sink too deep, the bugbear receives mortal wounds. Cat shakes his head as Ulric begins draining water out of his armor, for the second time that night:

“You could have just used Smite…”

“I didn’t want to show off.”

With the help of Ulric’s Locate Object scroll, they find a torso and – quite some distance further – a head, that match together pretty well, and paddle back south with their tails between their legs.

Where to next? It’s up to the Council!

Long Rest as Soranna finds Br Derny and asks him to set up the chapel for a ceremony.

By taking the Long Rest the heroes accept whatever the Council decides they need to do. This choice is clear and players accept it.

Brother Derny holds a Resurrection ceremony. In the netherworld, Phoenix hears that the One True Faith wants him to come back to life. “Uhh, yeah, sure,” he replies.

What do you mean, it’s the wrong way round?

Level 11 gains!

  • Tier-based weapons advance their “to hit” by 1
  • Cat can now switch to Dis’ senses, or away, by using an Action
  • Phoenix regains his own Totem as an option, and Mocair’s bestial nature is also available
  • Vir’s Curse is removed and he is able to throw away the Brooch of Damaging
  • Seck gains the Mage Slayer feat while wielding Red Whisper
  • Ulric takes a Campaign Setback and drops to d8 Reputation.
  • The ex-Long Roaders take a Campaign Setback and remain on d4 Reputation.

The next quest: south-west

Avarthel the druid has brought the mysterious druid Arcenaur across with him. Arcenaur has abandoned efforts to delay what he says is vast numbers of enemy. He speaks of hill giants, flying beasts, and regiments of hobgoblins. But even more concerning (for Ulric) is Arcenaur’s allegation that a black druid named Edwin has been aiding the Hobgoblin Warlord around Ironwood Gorge. Now a young red dragon named Abithriax, secretly raised by red dragon cultists, has joined the Ironwood Gorge army, making it nigh invincible. It will strike through the hills south-west of Drellin’s Ferry, he fears. Dragon slayers needed!

The skirmish played out this session underlines the fact that crits make an otherwise dangerous encounter deadly. And, being upended by a pack of worgs is also deadly. I rolled a crit for every 6d20, I estimate. And there were lots of multi-attacking enemy!

We resume the Ironwood Gorge arc once the one-off adventure I run next, is completed. Stay Tuned!

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